Long-term care facility characteristics associated with COVID-19 cases and deaths

Transmission electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, emerging from human cells. Credit: NIAID

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on residents and staff at long-term care facilities. A review of data from 36 published studies has linked certain characteristics of facilities to more COVID-19 cases and deaths. 

In the review, which is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, facilities that had a larger number of beds and were located in areas with high COVID-19 prevalence tended to have more COVID-19 cases and deaths.  

Also, having more staff members was associated with a higher probability of an outbreak; however, in facilities with known COVID-19 cases, higher staffing was associated with fewer deaths. 

"Despite differences across studies in data sources and approach, the research points largely to the same results," said lead author R. Tamara Konetzka, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago. "These results tell us that it is exceedingly difficult to protect nursing home residents if we let the virus rage in the surrounding community."

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More information: R. Tamara Konetzka et al, A systematic review of long‐term care facility characteristics associated with COVID ‐19 outcomes, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2021). DOI: 10.1111/jgs.17434
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